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If Stoughton Opts to Purchase Train Station, it Will Receive Financial Assistance from State

The Massachusetts Senate and House passed the Transportation Bond Bill, which includes financial assistance if Stoughton opts to purchase the train station. The bill now heads to Governor Patrick.

If the town decides to purchase the , which has recently been put up for sale by the MBTA, it will receive some financial assistance from the state. The following press release from the office of Senator Brian A. Joyce explains:

Stoughton's State House representation, Senator Brian A. Joyce (D-Milton) and Representatives Bill Galvin (D-Canton) and Lou Kafka (D-Stoughton) have passed legislation that provides at least $175,000 in matching grant funds to the town of Stoughton for the purpose of purchasing or refurbishing the old MBTA Stoughton Railroad Station on Wyman Street.

The that came out of a conference committee of three Representatives and three Senators, including Joyce, provides flexibility for the town and allows them the first say in the future of the property.

The language in the bill directs the MBTA to convey the 6,100 square foot property, including 30 adjacent parking spaces, to the town for “fair market value.” It also provides $175,000 in matching funds to help the town purchase the property and allows the town to pay off the purchase over ten years with no interest.

“Throughout the meetings I’ve had with both MBTA and Stoughton town officials, it has been clear that everyone wants an equitable and profitable solution that benefits the town and its residents,” said Joyce. “Once we were able to press pause on the private sale of the property, we were able to focus on giving the town the most significant voice in how the station fits into the future economic vitality of the surrounding area and the entire town.”

"I was pleased to see that our House amendment was included in the final bill," added Rep. Galvin. "These provisions are great for Stoughton and will provide the town with options on how the area is developed," he concluded.

On July 16, Sen. Joyce and Reps. Galvin and Kafka met with MBTA and town officials at the station to .

Since that time, the Legislature has been working on a favorable agreement that would allow the town to purchase the property for use or to sell or lease for private use. When the MBTA listed the property for private sale, the legislators were able to get the sale halted until the town could first say whether or not it wanted the property.

The bill now heads to Governor Deval Patrick.

Rob Mitchell August 04, 2012 at 12:26 PM
While I appreciate the historic value of the Stoughton Train Station, what possible economic benefits would it provide? How can investing money into it and the surrounding parking lot generate any revenue for the town? The initial and ongoing costs to restore and operations sound like they would be huge a drain on our town's finances. Yes, there's certainly an element of "... it would be the right thing to do ..." for intangible benefits e.g. preventing it from looking like a dump, but its a tough call after our town's schools, police, and emergency organizations to sustain and hopefully grow which really impacts our town. I'd like to hear economic ideas on restoring and sustaining and producing revenue; it would make it easier deciding to buy or not to buy. Didn't Stoughton just buy all that swamp/pond land (Glen Echo) recently too?
Dale F. Appel August 04, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Didn't Stoughton sink money into the building the last time renovations were done? If that is the case, there should be some reduction in price below fair market value to compensate the Town for those expenses incurred on property that were paid by the Town of Stoughton.. Perhaps the Town could collect rent if someone were to open a coffee shop/newspaper stand or some sort of eatery in in the building. Remember the old Allston Depot restaurant? The right restauranteur could create a restaurant with some early Americana charm. If the Town could line up an appropriate long term tenant prior to renovations it would be useful.
Dori Frankel August 04, 2012 at 04:17 PM
And what happens if we buy it, the the double track expansion goes through, and they take it by eminent domain? It is a money pit better left in the state's hand.
Scott M August 05, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Before we worry about buying it, take a critical look at what this building has become. There have been multiple drinking, assaults and drug related emergency services calls there recently. The strong odor of urine is more like a city parking garage. It's hard to view this building as an asset to the community these days.
Rob Mitchell August 05, 2012 at 01:46 PM
@scottm - I agree with you that the train station and surrounding parking lot looks dumpy. All the more reason for someone to purchase it and turn it around to make it look (and smell) better before it gets worse. My feeling is Stoughton is not in the position to do this (sigh).
Forrest Lindwall August 06, 2012 at 12:12 AM
The value of this building is really about site control but the revenue potential with 30 parking spaces is significant. The Redevelopment Authority has committed to assist the Town's effort to acquire it and is doing an inspection tomorrow as part of the due diligence that is necessary to develop an equitable acquisition cost.
aaron jones August 06, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Forrest - It is my understanding from talking to a member of the BOS - that they are asking the Redevelopment Authority to purchase the train station since they have the funds in the bank and are able to quickly turn around the P&S and begin renovation. Is this true? If not, what are the plans of the redevelopment authority to renovate the town - they have money in the bank but I have not seen them begin any projects which is what they were developed for by the Feds in the first place. If anyone, I would think the Redevelopment Authority should take this on - not the Town because the sole purpose of the Authority is for the acquisition, development and/or renovation of the town's commercial and residential infrastructure in support of revitalization. The Town has a history of building renovations that have either had huge cost overruns or being done poorly requiring additional funds to repair and/or replace. It would not be in the town's interest to buy BUT if it is done as part of a Redevelopment project under the Authority - I believe then it would be in line with their mission We already have an armory waiting to be redeveloped and now we want to take on a dilapidated Train station too - seems to me that we have other priorities. Simply put - DO WE NEED IT TO FULFILL OUR MISSION OR IS IS SOMETHING THAT WOULD BE NICE TO HAVE? AS A TAXPAYER, I WANT THE TOWN TO FOCUS ON NECESSITIES NOT EXTRAS,
Forrest Lindwall August 06, 2012 at 11:25 AM
Site control of this building and 30 parking spaces is absolutely essential given that it has the potential to be the anchor of a revitalized downtown. As for acquisition it could be by the Town thru Town Meeting, SRA or with CPA funds depending on the timing. The SRA has committed to ASSIST the Town in this effort which at present is conducting due diligence to make sure that we understand the present condition of the building and what it will cost to restore the bldg to vanilla box condition.Additionally the SRA has committed to ASSIST the Town in the relocation of the Post Office which would then open up significant land for downtown renewal. And the SRA has two members serving on the Master Planning Committee and going forward more volunteers to implement the Visions that evolve in that effort will be needed. As for the Armory it would be ideal as a regional distribution facility for the Post Office--Randolph/Stoughton-- leaving just a Retail Kiosk for postal services in downtown which interestingly would fit inside the Depot Bldg.
Carol Siegel August 06, 2012 at 04:39 PM
In the 1970's, Alice Petruzzo, Dotty Woodward and Ann Peterson lead the movement to rebuild the train station and get it on the Historic Register. Somehow, CETA workers were involved in removing the green paint that plagued the building. The Friends of the Railroad Station Restoration did numerous fund raisers. I don't know how much the town coffers put into this project. It was a compliation of several fund/grant and fundraisers. The building was used for a morning coffee shop, Train Show (Ed Lyons ran) as a fund raiser for the station, a floral show fund raiser at Christmas time, an auction, flea market, etc. Restoring the clock tower and getting it running was an ambitious goal that they reached. (After removing layers of dead pidgeons.) It was a lot of hard work by volunteers over many years that kept the station from deteriorating. It is time for new volunteers who are interested in keeping the history and value of our town to step forward and pick up the baton. The State Theatre restoration, Capen-Reynolds House, Glen Echo, The Historical Society, The Armory, and the Train Station all need people who are dedicated and creative. Financial times are difficult now, but they were very also bad when the CETA workers worked on the station. I wish I had a win/win solution, and I don't think that all of the solutions are on the table yet.
Bob Ross August 07, 2012 at 09:00 PM
I voted No to buying this building before looking into it a bit more. The property has the advantage of bringing in roughly $125,000 a year in railroad parking fees at the current rate of $4/day and I am not counting weekends. Even if we needed to hire someone part time to collect the fees we would still be making enough to pay the mortgage on this building provided it was under $9000/mo. Depending on the price of the building it's almost paying for itself unless I am missing something? Granted, it is a hollow shell of it's once self, but lease to a coffee\sandwich place it could really add up.
Forrest Lindwall August 08, 2012 at 12:48 AM
I don't believe that the Town would be collecting fees for commuter pkg in the 30 spaces. The intent would be to have parking that would serve any business that occupies the Depot as well as future development should the relocation of the Post Office come into play-- think 2 hour Sign regulated or metered parking.

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